Indiana students could receive graduation credit for jobs

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A state panel could back requiring Indiana high school students to get real-world experience in order to graduate.

The applied learning requirement could be met in multiple ways including participating in a service-learning project, internship or after-school job, The Indianapolis Star reported .

“This is very uncomfortable for some because it is a change in status quo,” said Byron Ernest, chairman of the panel and member of the State Board of Education. “But we’ve heard from employers, we’ve heard from students, we’ve heard from teachers … that have lots of recommendations that would change the status quo.”

The 14-member committee that includes education, business and workforce leaders has proposed the requirement as part of a push to modernize the state’s high school graduation standards.

Legislators voted earlier this year to create the panel in order to address concerns about the current graduation system. It is considering shifting the emphasis from getting students ready for college to giving them more career-related opportunities.

Some panelists said that some employers have told them the current graduation standards don’t help students succeed after high school.

“We often get stuck on how many credits they’re going to graduate with or which state test they’re going to take and none of those things have any currency outside of the high school system,” said Jason Bearce, senior associate commissioner of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. “If we want to prepare our students to weather good times and bad times, they need more than just a diploma.”

The state is also considering giving graduation waivers to students who can show they’re college- or career-ready in other ways, such as enrolling in a post-secondary education program or securing employment.

The panel is scheduled to meet again on Nov. 7 to prepare a final draft of its recommendations for the State Board of Education.

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com

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